Seven-year-old Alyssa Stolson navigates around some pylons in a figure eight pattern during a bike rodeo held at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre June 28. The event drew approximately 35 children. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A rodeo was held at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre parking lot Thursday night, and although there was no barrel racing or steer wrestling going on, children had the opportunity to learn the ropes on bicycle safety. The bike rodeo, put on by Morinville’s Community Peace Officers, drew about 35 children and their parents for an evening of educational fun. Children rotated through a number of stations, each designed to hone their bike-riding skills or teach them a bit about the rules of the road.
Community Peace Officer James Alaeddine said the bike rodeo was part of their safety first initiative. “It’s not only bonding with the community and bonding with the youth in town, but this is our next generation,” he said. “It is really important that we get everybody, the motorists and the cyclists to obey the rules of the road.”
Alaeddine said with children out of school and nice weather upon us, it is important for youth to be mindful of motorized traffic and for motorists to be aware children are out on their bikes. “We need to watch out for the crosswalks,” he said. “Usually we watch out for the pedestrians on the road, but also now these little kids are on their little bikes. We have to get the motorists to have a broader view and have them looking around.”
The Community Peace Officer said this is particularly important in downtown Morinville where the crosswalks are located.
Jeff Stolson, one of the parents who brought their child to the bike rodeo, said he recalled taking a similar program as a child. “It makes everybody aware there is more than you on the road, and that everybody has to observe the same rules,” he said.
Above right: Peace Officer James Alaeddine demonstrates what was to be done at one of the bike stations.
Above: Community Peace Officer Eric Nicholson gives some pre-rodeo directions to attendees.